Zila, Inc, an Arizona-based biotech company is testing out OraTest, its detection drug for oral cancer, according to the CNN. Oral cancer is a disfiguring entity that is caused by chewing tobacco and smoking.
The American Dental Association estimated that nearly 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Marc Robins, founder of The Robins Group put things into perspective when he said, "We are subduing the dangers of breast and cervical cancers in women, but we are doing nothing for one of the most insidious and heart-rending types of cancers, and that's oral cancer." The treatment of oral cancer requires that some parts of the face be removed if it has progressed beyond measure. "Oral cancer is the dirty little secret of American health, and OraTest and ViziLite are the forefront for better health in this arena," Robins observed. OraTest is chemically tolonium chloride, which is a blue dye used extensively in the laboratory detection of oral cancer.Zila CEO Doug Burkett says that the dye highlights the cancerous tissue that is not visible to the naked eye of a dentist. "Here you've got a disease that's three times as prevalent as cervical cancer," said Burkett. "We're looking to screen high-risk individuals. These individuals who drink or smoke are high risk and should have the test at least once annually."
Oral cancer is usually detected by visual examination, but by the time the cancer is big enough to be visible, it would already have progressed to the next stage.